The longest day of the year has come and past…and BOY WAS IT HOT. Temperatures of at least 97F (that’s about 36C) and a humidity level that is simply unfortunate made this solstice slightly unbearable here in the woods. Our house is not equipped with central air, so I think my complaining is justified. We have a wall unit humming to help keep the humidity down…but it’s still uncomfortable as I sit here drafting a post. It’s 22h30 and still about 80F outside…so pleasant…
On days like this, no one wants to be in the kitchen. The stove shouldn’t even be turned ON for fear of adding extra (and unwelcome) heat into the house. Tonight, we grilled outside for the protein portion of our dinner (we had salmon), and I made a cold caprese salad as the veggie. This is a very flexible addition to a summer meal and features the classic combination of mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes – what’s not to love ? This recipe will feed 4 people as a side dish, but it’s easily adjustable. Also – these tomatoes are extremely good on pizza after having spent a day in the fridge…so maybe you’ll want to make extra. :)
4 Roma tomatoes
1/2 round fresh mozzarella
About 3 tbsp olive oil
About 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil (about 5 leaves worth)
Start with your tomatoes. On a clean cutting board, slice the tomato into thick rounds (about 1/4 inch thick). Take these rounds and dice them.
The nice thing about Roma tomatoes is that they have a lot of flesh to them and not as much moisture – handy when making a salad. That said, any tomato will work – just be sure to remove some of the seeds/tomato water in order to improve flavor. Put the tomatoes in a medium sized bowl.
Clean your cutting board (if you’re fussy). Unwrap the mozzarella and using a (serrated) knife, make long, clean passes through the cheese, cutting rounds of about the same thickness as the tomatoes.
You will want about 4 fair sized rounds for the salad – but it’s up to your personal taste. If you don’t like cheese too much, use less. Dice this as you diced the tomatoes. I made mine into little rectangles. Add to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Pour olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper over top of the tomatoes and mozzarella. Mix well with a spoon. Taste it to adjust the levels of spices and vinegar. I like the sourness of the vinegar – if you don’t, simply add a little more olive oil.
Lastly, chop the basil into strips (or rip it into pieces) and put on top of salad. Being an aromatic, you should add the basil last to preserve its flavor for as long as possible. Place the salad in the fridge to keep it cool, or eat it right away.
Bon appétit !